Arsenal 4-1 Reading


Arsenal comfortably saw off struggling Reading at the Emirates Stadium yesterday afternoon to keep the pressure on London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham in the fight for Champions League football next season.

Arsenal were totally dominant in the first half and opened the scoring early on when Gervinho scored from close range, pouncing on Santi Cazorla’s cross-come-shot.

Gervinho celebrates scoring the opener with Bacary Sagna.

Arsenal continued to control the game for pretty well the entire first half as they looked to extend their lead. Reading gave the ball away a lot which helped to create chances, but the Gunners couldn’t take any more in the first half. Gervinho headed wide shortly after opening the scoring and Olivier Giroud was clattered into by Stuart Taylor as the Frenchman was trying to clip the ball over the former Arsenal keeper. The referee didn’t point to the spot, much to the frustration of the home fans.

There were also a lot of last ditch blocks being made to prevent Arsenal extending their lead, so some good defending from Reading in the first half in that regard. Add to that some poor finishing from Arsenal players and it meant the hosts had to settle for just the one at the break.

More goals were coming though and Arsenal didn’t have to wait long after the break for the second to arrive. Cazorla had set up Gervinho in the first half and the Ivorian returned the favour three minutes into the second half as he set it up for Cazorla to curl one past Taylor to make it 2-0. A lovely Arsenal goal.

Reading had their first real sniff of goal when Pavel Pogrebnyak was put through, but Laurent Koscielny’s last-ditch tackle prevented the Russian from testing Fabianski. Just after the hour mark, Fabianski then comfortably saved from Alex Pearce. The visitors did push forward after the second Arsenal goal which helped lead to Arsenal’s third.

Bacary Sagna sent Gervinho into the clear after winning back possession and he provided his second assist of the game as Olivier Giroud fired past Taylor to put the game beyond doubt.

Just a minute later, Reading caught the Arsenal defence napping as Hal Robson-Kanu got on the end of Jobi McAnuff’s cross. Nacho Monreal injured himself as he crashed into the post when trying to prevent Robson-Kanu from scoring. Kieran Gibbs came on in his place and in doing so he made his 100th appearance in Arsenal colours.

Arsene Wenger sent Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski on for the final 15 minutes or so and within less than a minute, Chamberlain had burst forward and won his team a penalty after Mariappa brought him down.

Mikel Arteta took the responsibility of taking the penalty and made no mistake from the spot.

Arteta puts the game beyond any doubt by scoring from the spot.

The Gunners could have been in double figures had they taken more of their chances. It was complete dominance from Arsenal. There was a stage late in the first half where Arsenal had 95% of the possession over the past 5 minutes. It was like that for much of the game really in honesty.

For Arsenal, they continue their good form and keep up the pressure on Chelsea and Tottenham above. Chelsea lost 2-1 away to Southampton and are now only 2 points ahead of the Gunners, whilst Tottenham won 2-1 away to Swansea, which certainly isn’t an easy place to go. Arsenal are 4 points behind Spurs but do have a game in hand over them.

For Reading it is looking grim. They are now rock bottom, 7 points behind 17th placed Wigan and having played a game more than QPR (19th), Aston Villa (18th) and Wigan (17th).

Arsenal’s next game is away to West Brom on April 6th. The Hawthorns is never an easy place to visit and last year we won there on the final day of the season to secure Champions League qualification. That was with a lot of help from Marton Fulop who unfortunately no longer contracted to them. As stated above, last year we secured our Champions League place there, hopefully next week we can get a result that will make that achievable again this year. Arsenal are certainly coming into form at the right time once again.

*Lastly I would like to apologise for not being able to get this piece up last night. I wrote it out last night but the site server was down,  so if there are any obvious mistakes such as ‘today’ instead of ‘yesterday’, that is why. I did look through it and edited the ones that I could see. Thanks for understanding*.